Remembering Dave Palm

`Polarizing' Arvada political candidate dies at 70

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/21/21

For Dave Palm, few things were more important than community. The former Arvada city council and mayoral candidate often favorably likened his hometown to Mayberry, the idyllic setting of `The Andy Griffith Show,' and dedicated much of his life to preserving his vision of Arvada's history, tradition and small-town feel. Palm died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the age of 70.

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Remembering Dave Palm

`Polarizing' Arvada political candidate dies at 70

Posted

For Dave Palm, few things were more important than community. The former Arvada city council and mayoral candidate often favorably likened his hometown to Mayberry, the idyllic setting of `The Andy Griffith Show,' and dedicated much of his life to preserving his vision of Arvada's history, tradition and small-town feel.

Palm died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the age of 70. While many disagreed with Palm's outspoken views, few could deny that his passion for Arvada drove him to consistently try to make a difference in the community.

A graduate of Arvada High School, Palm was a lifelong Jefferson County resident who lived in Arvada since 1960.

Palm's many civic endeavors include a city council bid in 2017 and mayoral run in 2019, a term as director of the Arvada Historical Society, serving on the Harvest Festival Committee and organizing grassroots efforts including the 2020 trash hauling recall effort and this year's `Don't Vote' campaign.

Palm often claimed that his efforts were motivated by a desire to keep Arvada's “Mayberry-like charm” intact — a facet of the city he felt was threatened by expansion and development in recent years.

“We've got a mayor and (city) council that don't understand the concept of community,” Palm said in a Sept. 13 interview with the Arvada Press. “Arvada has been a community in the past. What they've brought us is a city; a northwest LoDo.”

Rick Nelson served with Palm on the Arvada Harvest Festival Committee and said that Palm's passion for Arvada showed through in his engagement in the community.

“He loved the community of Arvada, the folks, and always wanted to make sure he was doing what he could to look out for them… The community was his life, as it is for most of us,” Nelson said.

Nevertheless, Palm's problem-solving style and way of espousing his views could come across as confrontational at times.

“Dave's like a bulldog; he would attack things straight on,” Palm's friend Carl Campanella said.

Despite the backlash he sometimes faced, Palm's son Matt said that his father was undeterred and stuck to his convictions.

“He said it a lot; `If you're taking fire, you're probably over the target.' It didn't seem to ever affect him all that much, because he knew where he stood. He had an old school philosophy of what was right and what was wrong,” Matt said.

Matt and Dave worked together at Hackberry Hill Communications, an IT firm the two started which drew upon Dave's vast knowledge of tech and computers.

“Dave was a polarizing influence. He was a very intelligent guy, he knew tech inside and out and sometimes he used it for positive purposes, but sometimes he used his intelligence and skills for ways that weren't so positive,” said Nancy Young, who knew Dave and worked with him through various organizations.

Matt said that his father could be a warm presence once he took to someone.

“He was a very passionate man, at home and in his public life. He took a while to warm up to people, but when he did, he would bend over backwards for pretty much anybody to help them out,” Matt said.

Matt added that his father's political action came from a place of wanting to give the citizens of Arvada more of a voice in city issues.

“It seemed like city council and the mayor and those, they were acting more like they were elected to lead Arvada into their vision, and he felt like it should be more of a representative of `What do the citizens want? Let's do that,'” Matt said.

Services for Palm were held on Dec. 18 at Ridgeview Baptist Church.

David Palm, Arvada Colorado, politics, Arvada High School, Don't Vote, recall effort

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